August 27th, 2010
12:47 AM ET

Some evangelicals on defensive over partnering with Glenn Beck, a Mormon

A handful of prominent evangelical activists are defending their decision to attend television host Glenn Beck's conservative rally in Washington this weekend after some Christians complained that evangelicals shouldn't be partnering with Beck because of his Mormon faith.

Video: Glenn Beck rally stirs controversy

"There is no need to 'de-Christianize' each other over the matter," wrote Jim Garlow, an influential California pastor, in a five-page memo this week arguing that evangelicals can attend Beck's rally and partner with the television and radio personality in good conscience.

"Glenn Beck is being used by God - mightily," Garlow wrote in the memo, which was obtained by CNN. "The left loves to slam him and do so viscerally and often with vulgarities. Glenn is not perfect... But his expose on America's sins is stellar."

Garlow - who partnered with Mormons in California to help pass Proposition 8, the state's gay marriage ban, via ballot initiative in 2008 - is one of several high profile evangelicals on the defensive about participating in Beck's rally, called Restoring Honor.

The rally, which is to be held near the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, is to be headlined by Sarah Palin.

Christian critics of the event have taken specific aim at some evangelicals' participation in a prerally event Friday at the Kennedy Center called Glenn Beck's Divine Destiny.

Beck, who many evangelicals say is not a Christian because of his Mormon beliefs, says on his website that the Friday event "will help heal your soul."

"Guided by uplifting music, nationally-known religious figures from all faiths will unite to deliver messages reminiscent to those given during the struggles of America's earliest days," his site says of the event.

Brannon Howse, a conservative writer and founder of Worldview Weekend, which organizes Christian conferences, criticized evangelical participation in that event in a column this week.

"The Apostle Paul warns Christians against uniting with unbelievers in spiritual endeavors," Howse wrote. "While I applaud and agree with many of Glenn Beck's conservative and constitutional views, that does not give me or any other Bible-believing Christian justification to compromise Biblical truth by spiritually joining Beck."

Much of the criticism - along with confusion about the propriety of evangelicals politically linking arms with Mormons - is less formal and more rooted among in-the-pews churchgoers than evangelical elites.

"Jesus Christ's Church has universally rejected Mormonism's Anti-Trinitarian theology and its claim that mortals may become God," David Shedlock, a contributor to the evangelical blog Caffeinated Thoughts, wrote in a post this month. "Beck asks Christian leaders to 'put differences aside,' but Beck himself daily peppers his broadcasts with Mormon distinctives because he cannot keep his beliefs to himself."

Evangelical defenses of attending the Beck rally are largely aimed at ordinary evangelicals. Garlow circulated his memo in an email titled "In case some criticize you for attending the Glenn Beck Rally – since he is a Mormon."

Many Christians say that some Mormon beliefs, including that Mormon church leaders are prophets and that the Book of Mormon is sacred scripture, are incompatible with Christianity.

Mormons, though, consider themselves Christian. The Mormon church is called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Many conservative evangelical activists argue that evangelicals and Mormons should set aside theological differences to partner on moral and political issues.

"For Christians concerned about Glenn's faith, I would ask the following questions: What fruit do you see produced by Glenn," David Barton, an influential evangelical activist who is joining Beck's rally, wrote on his Facebook page recently. "Good or bad? If you judged Glenn only by the fruits he has produced, would you still hold concerns over his faith?"

"Christians concerned about Glenn's faith should judge the tree by its fruits, not its labels," Barton, a former Republican National Committee consultant, continued. "After all, Nancy Pelosi and Bill Clinton openly call themselves Christians... Although these individuals have the right labels, they have the wrong fruits."

Other evangelical activists have gone further, arguing that Beck's faith isn't that different from that of mainstream Christians.

"I have interviewed persons who have talked specifically with Glenn about his personal salvation - persons extremely well known in Christianity - and they have affirmed (using language evangelicals understand), 'Glenn is saved,' " Garlow said in his memo, which was dated Wednesday. "He understands receiving Christ as savior."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Mormonism • Politics • Sarah Palin

soundoff (1,239 Responses)
  1. So

    the fact that the LDS church has masked the true identity of beliefs is really something that amazes me. Anyone that has to question if mormonism is Christian obviously knows nothing about one or the other. Christianity and mormonism have nothing in common. NOTHING. do you're research people. and don't allow yourselves to be manipulated by an agenda of someone involved with a false religion and a false, imaginary, distorted version of Jesus.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:28 am |
  2. Nomad27

    Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader) is a Mormon too, but the Left has no problem with that. Reid is a lapdog that does the Left's bidding therefore we don't have to try and chastise him. But Beck and Romney rarely ever have a piece written about them without the "M" word thrown in there in an attempt to discredit them. Like I said earlier the Left preaches against Islamaphobia, but is trying to stir up Mormonphobia here. The double standard is clear as day.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:27 am |
    • dcw

      Harry Reid also doesn't shove his religion up the collective noses of the country on a regular basis.

      He keeps it where it belongs - at home. Like most Americans of any faith.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:29 am |
    • Martin

      The left had a problem with Mormons when it came to Prop 8. The right has a problem with Mormons when it came to the evangelicals in their party voting for Romney. Both have issues.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:37 am |
    • CTYank

      The "left" is "trying to stir up mormonphbia"? Clever, but you're making it up. (The sort of activity Glenn delights in.)
      Maybe the right-winger evangelicals might dispute your labeling them "left."
      Get facts straight or shup.

      August 27, 2010 at 5:16 am |
    • David

      "He keeps it where it belongs – at home. Like most Americans of any faith."

      Just...wow dude. Wow. Good ol' dose of lefty enlightenment and tolerance? lul....don't ever govern anything please, kthx.

      August 27, 2010 at 5:17 am |
    • John

      Outside of Prop 8, I don't care one way or the other about Mormonism, and who is or isn't a Mormon. Stop projecting.

      August 27, 2010 at 8:36 am |
  3. Jan

    So, George, when was the last time you read the Book of Mormon?

    August 27, 2010 at 2:22 am |
  4. jeff

    lets build a mosque across the street from the temple in salt lake that will really the cult up.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:20 am |
    • CHW

      Jeff, I'm going to assume you meant "rally."

      And I hate to break it to you, but there is a mosque in Salt Lake City close to the temple. No rallies. No fuss. All because most Mormons (*cough*BECK*cough*) strongly believe that others have a right to practice their own religions according to the dictates of their own hearts. Within a couple blocks of the Salt Lake City Temple is the Cathedral of the Madeline (Catholic,) the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, synagogues, and all manner of Protestant denominations. It's simply not an issue. (You hear that? Glenn?)

      August 27, 2010 at 4:25 am |
    • SpyderGirl

      Jeff, sadly, not only would there be protests, but there would be others like myself with our sleeves rolled up willing to help. We have several mosques in Salt Lake City. One of them is very nice. But, downtown real estate is some of the most coveted. I'm just not sure where one COULD be built. They could possibly rent room in one of the sky scrapers being built. I also think our First Presidency would side with the Mosque.

      August 27, 2010 at 6:37 am |
    • John

      If anybody would understand being an unpopular and frequently demonized minority religion in the US, considered more a political force than a religious one, it'd be the Mormons.

      August 27, 2010 at 8:35 am |
  5. Johnson

    The founder of the Mormons, John Smith, married women while they were within existing marriages. He even married a woman and that woman's daughter. That does not work for me; but they seem like nice people.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:19 am |
    • nyan

      Joseph Smith. Not John.

      I would recommend getting a few very very basic facts straight before you start laying your information on the table as if it's fact.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:24 am |
    • Schulz

      That information is incorrect. It is generally a good rule of thumb when dealing with the history of a religion to consult the members of it and not Google.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:45 am |
    • LaGryphon

      Schulz.....there's documented proof as to the kind of person your ole Joe Smith was & it's not very pretty. But then you have to continue to be deceived cuz the truth would be too much for you or your family to take. The church/cult even holds some of these documents in their vaults knowing full well what kind of sham of a man Joe was

      August 27, 2010 at 3:32 am |
  6. Michael M.

    As an "active" Mormon, I can say I do NOT agree with what Beck is doing. He has his right to believe or practice whatever political platform he wants, but if he should be careful when he starts dragging religion into the matter because it has very little (if nothing at all) to do with politics.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:19 am |
    • Nomad27

      As long as you are prepared to answer for the stewardship you showed while living in this choice and desirous land. I'm sure standing on the sidelines idle like will do wonders for you.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:41 am |
    • mommadona

      Thank you for stating that. Then, you might want to question the political actions of orrin hatch and mitt romney as they gather the kkkoolaide John Birch Society funds and influence. The John Birch Society was founded by mormons. Prop 8 in California was a completely political move by the elders of the mormon ~ My 'quack' test believes your faith may be couped by very manipulative and connected people... and the rest of US is left wondering about the calls for secession and theocracies from a state that is already one.

      August 29, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  7. George

    Yet more proof the father of lies is about

    August 27, 2010 at 2:19 am |
  8. kharbath

    It isn't whether being a Mormon is Christian or not, it is about the real history of Joseph Smith, who was much like a charismatic Jim Jones. If anyone has a true understanding of the Mormon religion (which requires reading history material that is not church approved) they would realize what a creepy, multi-level marketing, 44 billion dollar organization it is, brainwashing and forcing it's members to pay tithing while many of them live in poverty while having huge families. The only reason main stream Mormons stopped practicing polygamy openly is so Utah could become a state. Jeff, tell everyone about how Mormons believe in polygamy in the afterlife and men go through ceremonies "sealing" multiple women to them as wives in an afterlife. How about the law of conservation, when the 12 guys in white coats decide the last days are here and require you to give up everything you have to the church. Are you going to give up your house, car, everything you have? I could go on and on...so true understanding may be something different to me after being in Utah for a long time.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:19 am |
  9. Jan

    Those of you who say Mormons are not Christians are completely ignorant. Mormon is a nickname for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. THe nickname derives from the Book of Mormon which is another testament of Jesus Christ. It does not replace the Bible, but adds additional testimony that Jesus is the Messiah. Until you have read the Book of Mormon, you have no basis whatsoever to claim Mormons, Latter-day Saints, LDS or whatever you call them do not believe in Christ.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:17 am |
    • mtdHouston

      Let's get angel Moroni to settle this.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:34 am |
    • Nomad27

      ....and during the days when their was an extermination order on the Mormons (of course nothing like that horrible Prop 8 in California) it was much easier for the mob to say, "let's go get them Mormons!" Could you imagine being in your posse and saying, "lets go kill those Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!".

      August 27, 2010 at 2:39 am |
  10. ty

    Is this stupid crap really news worthy or is CNN as bad as Fox news now

    August 27, 2010 at 2:15 am |
    • Kate


      They can never tell what people might want to know, so they toss it out to see if it wakes people up (like this one has), and *then* they decide if they're going to assign a real reporter to it.

      Expect larger main site articles until friday on it 🙂

      August 27, 2010 at 2:19 am |
    • CC

      NO as bad as MSNBC.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:32 am |
    • CC


      August 27, 2010 at 2:37 am |
    • Vince

      I agree, as bad as Fox news

      August 27, 2010 at 2:46 am |
    • travis

      not to mention this is on the religious blog section, and not the hard news people. And MSNBC is the foil to Fox, they need each other.

      August 27, 2010 at 3:10 am |
  11. cbr

    The article on Glenn Beck is just another expose on who is a Christian. I would ask how can any Christian question the beliefs of any person. Their religious intolerance is both harmful and wrong.

    They have eliminated those of other faiths. It is as if these people cannot be part of this great land and certainly not good citizens. They steadfastly believe that the USA is a Christian country. The Constitution clearly states there is a separation of church and state. Therefore, no religion can claim to be the religion of the USA. Religion is a personal thing. No one, not even Glenn Beck has the right to decide religious questions for this country.

    People should be critical of this rally on the 47th anniversary of MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech. The ideas expressed in the speech cut across the spectrum. There is something for everyone. For Glenn Beck to deny the tenets of that speech and to introduce new guidelines for civil rights shows that Mr. Beck and now Sarah Palin have rewritten history to justify their ideas. How pompous and self righteous.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:15 am |
  12. BioHzrd

    "Glenn Beck's Divine Destiny"....What a huge load of bull. Makes me want to vomit.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:14 am |
    • Kate


      Two word: Nehemiah Scudder

      Just sayin'

      August 27, 2010 at 2:22 am |
    • BioHzrd

      Well that just makes my point even scarier....Thanks for putting a little fright in my day

      August 27, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • Kate


      No charge 🙂

      August 27, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  13. CC

    Looking at ppl "in power"for something only leaves u empty

    August 27, 2010 at 2:12 am |
  14. Tim

    http://jesuschrist.lds.org (for those wanting to learn for themselves)

    August 27, 2010 at 2:12 am |
    • rick wisconsin

      great artwork Tim. See you in the seventh heaven (maybe). Pray for peace in Jerusalem.

      August 27, 2010 at 6:38 am |
  15. Luposian

    I used to buy into all of Glenn Beck's diatribe... it IS entertaining, to watch him spew fury at all the craziness that is going on in America. But, at what point do you say... how much of what he is predicting... is coming to pass? Inflation seems to hit the cereal isle ($4+ for a box of cereal? Pah!) and then I see some name-brand cereal (Reeses' Puffs, anyone?) for $1.99 tonight! It doesn't make sense. If we're in a recession/deflation, as his numbers seem to indicate, why are we not seeing prices falling through the floor on everything? But when Glenn shows the actual words, in video, coming out of Obama's or the VP's mouth (sorry, don't recall his name at the moment), or any number of other liberal types, you hafta wonder just how right he may actually be.

    Christianity and politics are not one and the same. We got GAY republicans (what a name... LOG cabin Republicans? Blech!), we got corruption in both wings... we got islamic representatives in the US, mosques all over the place (including near the twin towers), etc. ad nauseum.

    Face it... Republican or Democrat... they're BOTH going the same direction, just a slightly different way. Turning America around is NOT gonna happen... too late in the game for that... we might be able to slow the decay a little, with a solidly Republican-controlled government, but... America is too far gone... just pray that Jesus comes quickly... tomorrow, if possible. 🙂

    August 27, 2010 at 2:11 am |
    • Nomad27

      So we are to believe that you tried to understand Beck and gave him a chance, but in the end from all of your heart felt research you realized Beck was just wrong. And because of this made up line we are to give you more credit as a Beck critic. You are a liar, you've never been an impartial observer of Beck....the stuff you spew is the same stuff that HuffPo directs you to say.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:33 am |
    • Methius

      Deflation means that prices are falling. Not that I agree with Beck, but that is the definition of the term.

      August 27, 2010 at 3:19 am |
  16. Natep

    Religion brings nothing but hatred into this world. I have never heard an atheist degrade someone for their beliefs or want someone dead because they are not like them...

    August 27, 2010 at 2:10 am |
    • Luke

      Just to be fair: religion also brings a lot of compassion into the world. Churches of many different stripes teach people to be good neighbors, to help the poor, to live good lives and make contributions to the lives of others. Of course, many bad things have been done in the name of religion. But many, many, many good and even great things are done every day by those who are motivated by their faith.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:16 am |
    • Natep

      Luke.. I understand what you're saying, it just seems that all I hear every day from, so called, Christians is the President is a Muslim..... The gay agenda will ruin America! Hatred for immigrants... This is why my money goes to secular organizations that do good on their own and not for some imaginary man in the sky...

      August 27, 2010 at 2:25 am |
    • Michael M.

      A few atheists that I have run into have nearly foamed at the mouth, yelling and screaming about how stupid I am, that there is no God, and that I'm just a weak individual.

      Let me be clear, though...MOST people with whom I've spoken with about religion (and have disclosed that they are indeed atheists) have not acted that way at all. In fact, they were very respectful. I personally don't consider atheists "out to get" any believer in God. Just like radical religions, there are radical atheists.

      Sad, but true. It's a pipe dream, but I wish people could just agree to disagree, and do it with civility.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:27 am |
    • Scott

      Then you have never had a professor. Science professors, not all at least....but most try to make christians in the classroom feel stupid... and a lot go far off topic to do this on many occasions. Many people will present very interesting arguments to avoid looking at the sin in this world, in their life. Is it so hard to believe that God decided to come in human flesh (Jesus) as promised ,and pay the penalty on our behalf, and that we should tell others of this, and believe. Is that too hard? There are parents who drown their kids daily in the Ghanges River because they think it will pay for their sin... when its already been paid in full. I serve a risen Savior and not carefully crafted tales. Its not that people don't want to believe in God, They don't want to believe that they have sin in our lives and will have to answer for it someday. Jesus said believe and be saved and be sad for your sin, turn from it and follow Him and you wont stand in front of God your Judge, but God your Father who will reward you and clothe you in perfection. What greater love than this

      August 27, 2010 at 3:15 am |
    • Scott

      Then you have never had a professor. Science professors, not all at least....but most try to make christians in the classroom feel stupid... and a lot go far off topic to do this on many occasions. Many people will present very interesting arguments to avoid looking at the sin in this world, in their life. Is it so hard to believe that God decided to come in human flesh (Jesus) as promised ,and pay the penalty on our behalf, and that we should tell others of this, and believe. Is that too hard? There are parents who drown their kids daily in the Ghanges River because they think it will pay for their sin... when its already been paid in full. I serve a risen Savior and not carefully crafted tales. Its not that people don't want to believe in God, They don't want to believe that they have sin in our lives and will have to answer for it someday. Jesus said believe and be saved and be sad for your sin, turn from it and follow Him and you wont stand in front of God your Judge, but God your Father who will reward you and clothe you in perfection. What greater love than this?

      August 27, 2010 at 3:18 am |
    • Ichthus

      So when Richard Dawkins calls religious people mad and deluded, or Christopher Hitchens cannot bring himself to accept the rationality nor sanity of a person holding theological beliefs, that's not degrading?

      I personally have been called insane, stupid, insipid, deluded, moron, jackass, and so on by atheists concerning my personal beliefs. I would want to argue those are words that degrade someone. I find it hard to believe that you have the audacity to say that "religion brings nothing but hatred into this world" and believe that is not disparaging. This isn't a personal attack on your character, but a rebuke on your thinking. You need to think about the vicious double standard you place on others when you post.

      As to another comment you left about Christians calling the president a Muslim, I too grow tired of hearing that rubbish. He is a Christian and even if he wasn't, I feel it is not job as a civil servant, to wear the cloak of Christ and still lead a pluralistic nation without stepping on toes or disregarding the constitution.

      August 27, 2010 at 3:24 am |
    • John

      If you're not demanding that the science teacher accept Young Earth Creationism as scientific fact, or questioning the validity of everything because "it's just a theory" (news flash, there's also electrical theory and gravity theory, but the lights still turn on and we aren't flung into space), then the science teacher won't care what your religion may be, it's nobody else's business.

      I was in a Comparative Religion class sitting next to some Christian fundamentalist who kept disrupting the class and criticizing the teacher when he described anything positive in another religion, or just anything she didn't like about other religions. I'm sure she felt like she was under attack by the teacher (who was a devout Catholic, but who had a lot of respect for all religions), but everybody else in the class felt like they were under attack by her.

      August 27, 2010 at 8:31 am |
    • John

      "I serve a risen Savior and not carefully crafted tales."


      And fundamentalists wonder why men of science don't take them seriously...

      August 27, 2010 at 8:33 am |
  17. Joe

    I'd say that the fact that he exhibits severe delusional paranoia with a deranged Messiah complex is a lot more troubling than the fact that he is Mormon.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:09 am |
  18. Q

    As if Beck's complete disrespect for actual American history via his promotion of Barton's well-refuted BS wasn't reason alone to disassociate oneself. If Mormon's are "Christian" then I guess Muslims are as well. Their respective "Holy Books" both reference Christ. But then as long as Mormons and the Christian Right share similar goals of some form of theocratic government (or at least a corner on that plentiful consumer market), why waste your time squabbling over the "details". By any name, it still smells about the same...

    August 27, 2010 at 2:06 am |
    • TP123

      You have cleary read both the Book of Mormon and the Quran.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:43 am |
    • Q

      Mythologies upon mythologies.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:51 am |
    • Ichthus

      You speak of what you do not know. You call it "mythology," but I believe that you would be the first to ask who has the right to tell anyone they are wrong? It's all relative anyway, right?

      August 27, 2010 at 3:08 am |
    • John

      If anything, the Muslim magic show is slightly (slightly!) more believable than the Mormon magic show.

      Holy Books
      Islam: The Angel Gabriel tells the Prophet to write, and his writings are divinely inspired. Well, not much different then mainstream Christianity here, which believes that all Scripture is inspired by God. Only difference is that Gabriel talked directly to the Prophet.
      Mormonism: The Angel Moroni showed magical golden plates to Joseph Smith that he could only interpret with magic seer stones, and only he could look at them. And the Angel Moroni was originally a Native American warrior-priest who had been led to America by Jesus. Right.

      Islam: Live the way Allah wants, and you go to paradise. Basically heaven. But you don't go there until Judgment Day. Until then your soul is essentially in stasis, reviewing your life. On Judgment Day, Allah determines if your good outweighs your bad, and if so, then you go to heaven. You don't even have to be Muslim, but it's easier to get to heaven if you follow Allah's rules, and it's easier to follow Allah's rules if you're a Muslim. In Paradise, everybody is smoking hot and has an awesome place to stay.
      (note: the 72 virgins thing is from a Muslim religious leader's teachings, and has nothing to do with actual Muslim scripture)
      Mormonism: Has Spirit Prison and Paradise, and if you're holy enough, you can become a God in charge of your own planet somewhere.

      August 27, 2010 at 7:50 am |
  19. Martin

    As a Mormon, I get used to people trashing my religion online, but I do have difficulty categorizing Glenn Beck as a Mormon. I don't agree with most of things he talks about, or the way he does it.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:06 am |
    • Ichthus

      I am not a Mormon, but I do agree on principle that Glenn Beck and his ilk are detrimental to the faith community. They trumpet loudly about their personal beliefs and connection with the almighty, then turn around and deny that same Reality by their actions. It's a wicked perversion of what any holy book or god-concept would stand for.

      August 27, 2010 at 3:05 am |
    • SpyderGirl

      Martin, I agree with you. I cringe everytime this nutcase is put out as being a Mormon. He's a racist bag of rhetoric and completely cut off from the teachings of Christ. He recently warned about compassionate churches being tools of socialism. Makes me wonder if he's ever read our Church History and the Law of Consecration. I wonder if he's a full tithe payer. All that church welfare and horrible socialist charity we do all over the world, like bringing the poor wheelchairs and food. He's a fraud, as a Christian, as a Mormon and as a Human Being.

      August 27, 2010 at 6:34 am |
    • Julie

      I am LDS (mormon) and Glenn Beck scares me.

      August 27, 2010 at 10:43 am |
  20. kmp

    What scares me is he is acting lately almost like he is the next Messiah, that his speech this weekend will be one of the most uplifting and profound speeches given in our more modern history, his words not mine. Whether he is Mormon or Christian I don't care, what I do care about are his facts and he so far has skewed his fact to fit his version of the truth.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:06 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.